Presentation: Ethical Leadership

Success is more permanent when you achieve it
without destroying your principles.
~Walter Cronkite
Ethical Leadership
Knowing your core values and having the
courage to live them in all parts of your life
in service of the common good.
A Personal Journey
• Will you be the same person at work? At
home? In the community?
• Will you have the courage to live out your
values when there is pressure to
compromise or rationalize?
• How do your values contribute to the
common good?
Core Values Assessment
• Having the courage to stand up for what you believe in
is the trait of an ethical leader.
• Appreciate the diversity within your group.
• What can you do to make your core values a part of
your daily life?
• Striving to integrate your values with your actions is
another trait of ethical leadership.
• It is about persistence, not perfection.
“Leadership for what purpose?”
• Values. Ethical leadership begins with an understanding
of and commitment to our individual core values.
• Vision. Vision is the ability to frame our actions –
particularly in service to others – within a real picture of
what ought to be.
• Voice. Claiming our voice is the process of articulating
our vision to others in an authentic and convincing way
that animates and motivates them to action.
• Virtue. Understanding that we become what we practice,
we foster virtue by practicing virtuous behavior – striving
to do what is right and good.
Ethical Leaders…
Tell and live the story.
Focus on organizational success rather than on
personal ego.
Recognize that value is in the success of people in the
Find the best people and develop them.
In organizations that have a live conversation about
ethics and values, people hold each other responsible
and accountable about whether they are really living
the values; they expect the leaders of the organization
to do the same.
Ethical Leaders…
Create mechanisms of dissent.
Take a charitable understanding of others’ values.
Understand why different people make different
choices, but still have a strong grasp on what they
would do and why.
Make tough calls while being imaginative.
The ethical leader consistently unites “doing the right
thing” and “doing the right thing for business”.
Ethical Leaders ask Themselves
What are my most important values and principles?
Does my calendar—how I spend my time and attention—reflect
these values?
What would my subordinates and peers say my values are?
What mechanisms and processes have I designed to be sure that
the people who work for me can push back against my authority?
What could this organization do or ask me to do that would cause
me to resign for ethical reasons?
What do I want to accomplish with my leadership?
What do I want people to say about my leadership when I am
Principles for Ethical Decision Making
Step back from every decision before you make it
and look at it objectively. Aim for objectivity and
fairness - not for personal power, 'winning',
strategic plotting, high drama.
Strive for fairness.
Learn from history and previous situations.
Reviewing how previous situations were handled
reduces the risks of making mistakes.
Get the facts from all possible perspectives.
Principles for Ethical Decision Making
• Understand the long-term consequences. Model the
'what if' scenarios.
• Consult widely - especially with critical people, and
especially beyond your close circle of (normally)
biased and friendly advisors, colleagues, friends.
• Resist the delusion and arrogance that power and
authority tends to foster.
• Aim for solutions and harmony, objectivity and
• Facilitate rather than influence.

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